Kiwi (horse)

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Sire Blarney Kiss (USA)
Grandsire Irish Lancer (USA)
Dam Malrayvis (NZ)
Damsire Messmate (GB)
Sex Gelding
Foaled 1977
Country New Zealand
Colour Chestnut
Record 60:13-8-2
Earnings NZ$549,839
Major wins
Wellington Cup (1983)
Melbourne Cup[1] (1983)
Last updated on April 3, 2009

Kiwi (1977 – 2 February 1995) was a New Zealand thoroughbred racehorse who in 1983 won the Wellington Cup in New Zealand and won the Melbourne Cup in Australia. Kiwi, who raced from 1980 to 1987, remains the only horse ever to win both cups.

Kiwi was bred by H. B. Fischer and bought by Waverley sheep farmer Snowy Lupton for only NZ$1000, originally to be used as a stock horse on the farm, and was never intended to be tried as a thoroughbred racing galloper.

Local legend[citation needed] has it that as Kiwi proved to be a fast and tireless horse on Lupton's farm that friends convinced him to enter Kiwi in a race at nearby Wanganui, to see how he ran. Kiwi instantly showed promise, especially over longer distances. He was an unknown quantity at the two-mile distance (3200 metres) when he was entered in the 1983 Wellington Cup, yet won with ease, coming from well back to win.

No Wellington Cup winner had previously won the Melbourne Cup, which is esteemed as the premier staying race in Australia and New Zealand. Some[who?] considered this reflects a lower quality field in the Wellington Cup, however it is more likely to be related to when the races are held - the Wellington Cup in late January and the Melbourne Cup in November.

When entered for the Melbourne Cup, despite having won over 3200-metre distance,Kiwi was considered very much an outsider and started with odds of 10/1. As usual, Kiwi (ridden by jockey Jim Cassidy) settled at the very back of the 24-horse field. At the turn, on the Flemington track, with 500 metres to run, Kiwi was second to last (ahead of Amarant, which was running lame). With a storming run through the field, Kiwi won the race by just over a length. So quick was his run that many race commentators only picked up Kiwi as he neared the finish line..."and here comes Kiwi out of the blue".[2] His win has become one of the most memorable performances in the history of the Melbourne Cup,[3] especially as it illustrated a classic stayers victory.

On winning the race, Kiwi became a household sporting hero in New Zealand, an example of the underdog winning against the odds. And showing that a simple trainer, with good horse can win the greatest prize.[4] As incredible as it may seem[by whom?] for a champion horse, Lupton openly admitted that Kiwi was used to ‘round up the sheep’ when having a break from racing.[5]

Kiwi entered the 1984 Melbourne Cup but was controversially scratched due to a veterinary check. His trainer, Snowy Lupton, always maintained Kiwi was fit for the race[6] and could have won. Some historians[who?] consider the scratching had elements of bad sportsmanship due to the rivalry between New Zealand and Australia. Kiwi ran in the 1985 Melbourne Cup, running fifth and in 1986 looked to repeat his 1983 'come-from-behind' victory but pulled up lame close to the finish line. Later that year, he represented New Zealand in the Japan Cup, running a creditable fifth. After this race, he was retired to the Luptons' farm.

Kiwi died in 1995[7] and is buried on the Lupton farm. The headstone simply states: "Kiwi, 1983 Melbourne Cup". A plaque commemorating Kiwi is also located at the Waverly Racecourse, Taranaki, New Zealand.


See also[edit]